Money Talks: Market Your Business with Speaking Engagements

image_freedigitalphotos-microphoneWhen I launched my marketing consulting practice in 1999, I started mostly from scratch. Up to that point, I’d successfully landed clients via direct mail, cold calling and networking, but I was eager to embrace thought leadership marketing in place of expensive direct mail campaigns and meeting prospects via random networking at business events.

I embraced public speaking, contacting business groups and websites and offering to deliver talks and teleseminars on marketing, branding and public relations. It took some effort, but within six months I’d spoken 10 times. I saw that public speaking not only established my credibility but were much more effective in generating sales leads.

My talks are always designed to deliver practical information without sales pressure, and they almost always result in audience members approaching me afterward to inquire about my services. To this day, I average one new client each time I speak. In some cases, public speaking has delivered major opportunities.

In one case, I traced $200,000 of consulting work to a single teleseminar in 2003. This talk was a standard presentation on thought leadership branding strategies. It attracted a Personal Fame Program client, a large corporate consulting contract, and later, an invitation to speak at a conference which led to a consulting contract with a major US company.

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Your Online Presence and Brand Reputation

image_freedigitalphotos-reputationAll businesses (regardless of size or industry) can’t ignore the importance of online brand reputation. Your target market is armed with search engines, social media and an increasing ability to control what they see and hear. Today, prospects you’ve never met form opinions about your business at the click of a mouse via your online presence.

Consider a recent Google search for a $10 billion bank that yielded only three mentions on the first page of search results, including a consumer Yelp! review denigrating the bank as “….Not even worthy of one star. [They] have obscene fees.” A regional competitor’s ad appeared above the bank because they’d purchased their brand name as a keyword. These damaging online references were available to anyone, including prospective customers, investors and the media.

Your brand reputation increasingly determines how members of your target market form a first impression of your business.

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